Election 2014 by the numbers

By Michael Beckel

A new Center for Public Integrity money-in-politics index highlights key facts about the most expensive midterm in history.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… state-level and U.S. Senate races that have mentioned President Barack Obama or the Obamacare health care reform law: 445,000 Minimum number of pro-Hi …"

U.S. Senate races to attract 1 million TV ads

By Michael Beckel and Dave Levinthal

Super PACs, nonprofits help fuel relentlessly negative messaging in U.S. Senate races.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Louisiana":

"… ssaging that would flood anticipated Senate runoff contests in Georgia and Louisiana, the million-ad mark will be eclipsed soon. Last week alone, candidates, p …"

"… sis of estimates provided by Kantar Media/CMAG. U.S. Senate races in Louisiana, Kansas, Kentucky and Arkansas all saw about one TV ad every two minutes l …"

Power shifts to outsiders in U.S. Senate fight

By Michael Beckel

Battle for control determined in large part by big-spending super PACs and nonprofits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission":

"… money special interests that proliferated after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision are routinely out-muscling and out-messaging the candidates thems …"

North Carolina's state of political hate

By Dave Levinthal

North Carolina's U.S. Senate race is the nation's nastiest — and few are particularly friendly affairs.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Senate race":

"… eliminary data from Kantar Media/CMAG, an ad tracking firm. No other U.S. Senate race — even the bitter contests in Kentucky, Iowa and Georgia — has experie …"

"… al Defense Action Fund (609). Just two-dozen of the more than 10,800 Senate race-focused TV ads that ran last week in North Carolina had a positive tone. …"

"… ll exceed 100,000 before the Nov. 4 vote.   That leads all U.S. Senate races and may help make North Carolina's Senate race the most expensive in …"

"… t leads all U.S. Senate races and may help make North Carolina's Senate race the most expensive in history. “People just want it to be over,” said …"

Secretive groups spend millions to influence state elections

By Reity O'Brien

Nonprofits hit TV airwaves with attacks on state-level candidates, gaining traction since the U.S. Supreme Court 'Citizens United' decision.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Law Enforcement Alliance of America":

"… gubernatorial and Arkansas attorney general contests this cycle. The Law Enforcement Alliance of America, another Virginia-based nonprofit was active in Michigan’s state supreme …"

Democrats seize air supremacy in Senate battlegrounds

By Dave Levinthal and Michael Beckel

Liberals aired more TV ads last week than their conservative foils in seven of the nine top Senate battlegrounds races.

Excerpts from this story referencing "North Carolina":

"… sponsored about 6,300 ads last week across nine states — from Alaska to North Carolina — buoyed by a nearly $25.3 million cash reserve and $5.1 …"

"… e Center for Public Integrity’s analysis of Kantar Media/CMAG data. The North Carolina race, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan faces GOP state House Spea …"

Prison bankers cash in on captive customers

By Daniel Wagner

Private company profits by helping prisons squeeze inmates' families for cash.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Wal-Mart":

"… d spend “hours on the phone with a grandmother, talking about her day at Wal-Mart.” He says he feels trapped by the structure of the industry he has come …"

Senate Democrats lead TV ad blitz

By Michael Beckel

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee aired more TV ads in key Senate races last week than any other group.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mitch McConnell":

"… Why? The Democrats have a huge money advantage.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., struck a similar tone in a separate recent email: “If we are una …"

Children's rights groups urge Defense program to stop giving school cops military hardware

By Susan Ferriss

Groups trying to curb use of police in school discipline urge federal officials not give military weapons to campus police departments.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Education":

"… said the protest letter, signed by the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund and public-interest law groups Texas Appleseed of Austin, Texas, and …"

"… litary hardware for school police include the Children’s Law Center, the Education Law Center, the National Center for Youth Law, the Advancement Project — …"

Mitch McConnell revs ad machine

By Michael Beckel

Kentucky’s embattled senior senator has aired roughly one campaign ad every five minutes since Labor Day.

Excerpts from this story referencing "New Hampshire":

"… preneur Michael Saylor, who is also Warner’s close friend. Meanwhile in New Hampshire, a quixotic super PAC that advocates for campaign finance reform failed to …"

Why Republican control of Congress hinges on nine big-money Senate races

By Michael Beckel and Dave Levinthal

Nine big-money Senate races will determine whether Republicans control both chambers of Congress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mitch McConnell":

"… es and GOP-aligned groups, including ads run during Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s primary against tea party challenger Matt Bevin. McConnell would almo …"

How big telecom smothers city-run broadband

By Allan Holmes

Municipal broadband boosts business, but often stops at city limits thanks to lobbying muscle of telecom giants.

Excerpts from this story referencing "board member":

"… p;described as a close ally of Charles and David Koch. He is a former board member of the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity. A few months after her bill pas …"

Democrats embrace 'McCutcheon' decision

By Michael Beckel and Dave Levinthal

Ahead of high-stakes battle for the Senate, Democrats create massive fundraising group blessed by contentious 'McCutcheon' decision.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Georgia":

"… y Federal Campaign Committee Michigan Democratic State Central Committee Georgia Federal Election Committee Alaska Democratic Party New Hampshire Democra …"

"… Grimes West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant Michelle Nunn of Georgia Several Democratic politicians who stand to directly benefit from the ne …"

"… p;ruling, we’ll see even more bombarding our airwaves.” And Nunn, the Georgia Democrat angling to win the state’s open U.S. Senate seat, declared the …"

Gun rights debate enters a new arena: the campus

By Wade Millward and Carmen Forman

The right to carry a firearm onto college campuses has become another issue in the gun control debate

Excerpts from this story referencing "board member":

"… rry) right now, but we’re going to fix that," said Hammer, one of 76 NRA board members. On July 30, the Florida Carry lobby lost its suit against the Universit …"

"… Idaho and Florida, it usually takes a supporting role on campus carry, NRA board member and former lobbyist Todd Rathner said. “The NRA is a huge organization, …"

Evolution of public-carry laws expands gun rights

By Kristen Hwang and Kate Murphy

Public-carry has moved from rare to widespread in the wake of recent shooting incidents

Excerpts from this story referencing "Georgia":

"… ars: 16 In restaurants: 0 Guns are increasingly common in public spaces. Georgia’s Legislature recently passed the Georgia Safe Carry Protection Act, whi …"

"… ngly common in public spaces. Georgia’s Legislature recently passed the Georgia Safe Carry Protection Act, which significantly expanded where gun owners c …"

"… Everywhere Bill.” “I open my front door and walk in public spaces in Georgia,” said Kathryn Grant, co-founder of the Georgia Gun Sense Coalition. “ …"

"… walk in public spaces in Georgia,” said Kathryn Grant, co-founder of the Georgia Gun Sense Coalition. “Most people don’t think about the potential of v …"

Pat Roberts' merry band of boosters

By Dave Levinthal

Outside groups are using the power of positivity to help save career of Kansas' longtime U.S. senator.

Excerpts from this story referencing "cent":

"… which are each headquartered in or near Washington, D.C., haven't spent a cent on messages that attack Wolf ahead of tonight's primary vote. Why? Succes …"

"… Of the $809,000 they've collectively spent, $588,000 of it — about 73 percent — has funded ads that expressly attack Roberts, federal records show. V …"

"… rget Wolf are sponsored by the Roberts' campaign itself. They include a recent television spot that pans Wolf, a radiologist by trade, for posting X-rays …"

"… PACs and nonprofits: Outside groups supporting Roberts have spent about 41 cents for every dollar spent by groups supporting Wolf or bashing Roberts, fede …"

Obamacare-driven competition lowering rates in some states

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: much-maligned Affordable Care Act attracting for-profit insurers, driving prices down in some states.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Georgia":

"… uld allow the company to “break even” in 2015. The Blue Cross plan in Georgia, however, which priced its policies considerably higher than it’s counte …"

Is this super PAC subverting disclosure rules?

By Michael Beckel

Georgia's GOP Senate primary has attracted big money from a super PAC funded by two nonprofit groups tied to an Ohio lobbyist.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Georgia":

"… t's spent more than $2 million on ads boosting businessman David Perdue in Georgia's contentious Republican U.S. Senate primary, has come from two "social we …"

"… isclose their own donors renders federal disclosure laws meaningless." In Georgia, the Citizens for a Working America PAC has touted Perdue as a "conservati …"

Bush bundlers boost pro-Gillespie super PAC

By Michael Beckel

Co-chairman of U.S. Senate candidate's finance committee also helps bankroll supportive super PAC.

Excerpts from this story referencing "adviser":

"… ation. Paul Bennecke, a Georgia-based political consultant, also serves an adviser to the We Can Do Better PAC, according to the National Journal. Neither A …"

"… usly served as the chairman of the Republican National Committee and as an adviser in the White House to President George W. Bush. Along with GOP strategist …"

Outside money pouring into governors races

By Ben Wieder

Dem, GOP associations are spending more than double as much on governors' races in the 2014 cycle than at the same period in 2010.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Florida":

"… D.C.-based group has given $2.5 million directly to a committee supporting Florida’s Republican incumbent, Rick Scott, and $1.5 million to a committee …"

Case reopened after Center reveals judge's conflict of interest

By Kytja Weir

Center investigation identifies conflicted judge leading to new hearing for discrimination case.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Court of Appeals":

"… overed a conflict of interest by one of its judges. Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Susan Black vacated the original opinion in the case involving Jacob …"

"… e same conclusion as the original panel last month. In a 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals case, the parties opted not to pursue a rehearing despite a conflict. But …"

Limited liability companies power West Virginia super PAC

By Michael Beckel

Group funded by limited liability companies boosts West Virginia Republican Alex Mooney.

Excerpts from this story referencing "federal law":

"… tead from wealthy individuals, who must disclose their contributions. But federal law allows companies — including certain nonprofits and LLCs — to donate t …"

Toomey discloses trip after inquiry

By Michael Beckel

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey failed to disclose a March trip to an exclusive, 'off-the-record' conference.

Excerpts from this story referencing "New Jersey":

"… e Mitt Romney, House Speaker John Boehner, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ranked among the event’s headliners. At the summit, …"

Meet the Banking Caucus, Wall Street's secret weapon in Washington

By Daniel Wagner and Alison Fitzgerald

Industry campaign cash flows to pro-bank activists in Congress, yielding big returns.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bank of America":

"… rs served to amplify the messages regulators were receiving from JPMorgan, Bank of America,  the American Bankers Association and dozens of others asking them t …"

"… rett wrote another letter, reiterating their demands and citing reports by Bank of America and Moody’s Analytics that were also cited in at least three bank and tr …"

FEC sends senators erroneous warnings

By Dave Levinthal

Politicians received notices they violated election laws due to a communications mix-up.

Excerpts from this story referencing "federal law":

"… ficial. They must submit paper copies to be considered in compliance with federal law.     …"

GAO report again finds black lung proposal supported by science

By Chris Hamby

A new government study supports reducing the dust limit workers encounter in mines; the industry is pushing back against stronger rules.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Government Accountability Office":

"… into an appropriations bill blocking implementation of the rule until the Government Accountability Office conducted an evaluation of the research underpinning the proposal. The res …"

Residents of polluted U.S. communities fear planned cuts in EPA enforcement

By Ronnie Greene and Chris Hamby

The EPA's "Next Generation Compliance" plan would lead to fewer inspections of, and enforcement actions against, polluters.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Georgia":

"… Suttles told the EPA that each of the six states his group represents — Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia and Tennessee — ranks …"

"… igh in terms of adverse health effects from coal-fired plants. “Atlanta, Georgia, and Richmond, Virginia, experience some of the worst health effects from …"

GOP opposition to Obamacare baffles Dr. Sullivan

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: former HHS Secretary Sullivan says Obamacare resembles plan crafted by Republicans.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tampa":

"… overnment is in,” Deal said during the Republican National Convention in Tampa in 2012. Sullivan told the journalists Thursday that, in his view, Georgi …"

Japan confirms it will return some nuclear explosive materials to U.S.

By Douglas Birch

The amount of plutonium is a small fraction of what the country could soon begin making annually.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Obama":

"… uclear programs. The joint U.S.-Japanese statement, released by President Obama and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, said: “This effort involves the …"

FEC to Claire McCaskill: Show us your money

By Dave Levinthal

Missouri Democrat says missing campaign finance report was lost in the mail

Excerpts from this story referencing "Georgia":

"… epublicans, including Sens. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Chuck Gras …"